Women vital to development

THE commemoration of International Women’s Day under the theme, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’, was yet another reminder and reaffirmation of the pivotal role women play in society.
During the virtual commemoration, President Edgar Lungu was on point in re-affirming the critical role women play in keeping families together and their subsequent contribution to the development agenda.
Unquestionably, the importance of the role women play in keeping families together cannot be overemphasised. This is much more in this life-threatening era of COVID-19 when families are under pressure to keep safe and make ends meet at the same time.
We also know that besides women being the ‘glue’ that keeps families together, they are the ones that nurture young members of the family into responsible adults.
As rightly noted by President Lungu, family unit is a building block to any society. A nation can only be as strong and stable as its family units. The concept is the same with building blocks used to construct a house. If the blocks used are of poor quality, this also translates to a poor structure.
The role women play may look insignificant from a casual glance and yet it is vital to the well-being of whole society.
It is in the home, for instance, where children are nurtured into responsible and productive citizens – citizens capable of making meaningful contributions to the country’s development agenda.
It is in families where people are introduced to the values of education and hard work.
It is said “when you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.
This is because of the intrinsic value that women bring to their families which extends to society as a whole.
It has also been established that families where women are empowered tend to flourish more than families where only men are empowered.
Even the uneducated women will not fold their hands and watch their families starve to death or their children drop out of school. They have braved the scorching sun, the cold and heavy rains to make ends meet by selling merchandise in the markets and on the streets.
These women have from their sacrifices raised and educated doctors, engineers, economists and lawyers among many other great professionals and citizens the country is benefitting from. These stories are plenteous in our society today.
It is indisputable that for our country to attain the ultimate desired status of a developed country, families must produce responsible and productive citizens capable of adding value to the country.
As long as families produce irresponsible citizens void of work ethics, Zambia will not see much progress in the development agenda.
While women have been doing so much, their efforts should be supplemented by men for greater impact.
Similarly, if more men supported the empowerment of women, society would be more developed than it is today.
It is commendable that President Lungu is cognisant of the important role women play not only at family but national level too.
This is evidenced by the high-level appointments of women, which include the Vice-President, Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions and chief Government spokesperson, among many others.